Crafting budget requires collaboration, tough decisions

By state Rep. Sarah Lightner of Springport   The outbreak of COVID-19 has definitely been taking up most of our attention lately, and understandably so. In Lansing, the state budget has often been the elephant in the room. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, this is something that is always at the top…

Rep. Huizenga: Oversight into absentee ballot mailing needed to ensure election integrity

State Rep. Mark Huizenga, chair of the House Appropriations General Government Subcommittee, today explored the impact of substantially expanded absentee voting on Michigan’s elections. The committee welcomed comments from Kent County clerk Lisa Posthumus-Lyons and Michigan Department of State legislative policy director Adam Reames, discussing a recent announcement from Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that…

COVID-19 pandemic underscores need to expand internet access

By state Rep. Beth Griffin, of Mattawan Two months have passed since schools, businesses and non-emergency health clinics across Michigan shut their doors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As educators, employers and physicians were forced to adapt to virtual settings to practice social distancing, it became abundantly clear how crucial internet access is….

Rep. Hall: Stories of hardship from out-of-work people will help shape current and future response efforts

COVID-19 committee to hear about frustrations with state’s unemployment system State Rep. Matt Hall, of Marshall, on Wednesday will join committee colleagues in hearing more stories from struggling, out-of-work people who have unsuccessfully attempted to secure needed unemployment benefits over the past two months. The Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, which Hall chairs,…

We needed leadership, what we got was political posturing

As a sitting member of the state Legislature, I know firsthand how slowly the government can move. That is why emergency powers exist, to allow swift action when necessary and legally warranted. The COVID-19 pandemic is exactly that, an emergency where swift action was necessary. Emergency powers are not intended, however, for political posturing, which…

Rep. Calley: Roughly 124,000 across Michigan still in need of unemployment benefits

Select committee holds second hearing discussing issues with state system State Rep. Julie Calley underscored the need for additional efforts to ensure people who have been without paychecks for several weeks are getting them, after seeing their livelihoods halted due to the governor’s executive orders limiting business in the face of COVID-19. “Legislators from across…

Rep. Hall seeking answers, transparency on administrative contracts during COVID-19

State Rep. Matt Hall, of Marshall, has requested the Auditor General’s assistance in order to hold the administration accountable to the people of Michigan. Hall, who chairs the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, is seeking information on contracts the administration entered into during a period from Feb. 28 to April 30 as the…

Michigan residents fed up as state’s unemployment system struggles to keep up

By state Rep. Diana Farrington of Utica The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted lives and livelihoods across Michigan. ‘Stay home’ orders and directives defining essential businesses have caused more than 20 percent of Michigan’s workforce to be unemployed, according to a recent report from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Inevitably, that has led to…

Rep. O’Malley: Hearing from those desperate for help shows state must strive for improvement

Legislator: Despite high volume of unemployment calls, extended hardships are simply unacceptable State Rep. Jack O’Malley, of Lake Ann, today pointed to testimony provided by concerned and struggling citizens as a clear example of Michigan’s unemployment services not hitting top gear and providing needed transparency while people depend on its efficiency. O’Malley serves on the…

Rep. Wendzel announces senior spotlight campaign

State Rep. Pauline Wendzel announced the launch of her ‘senior spotlight’ campaign. Rep. Wendzel’s goal is to highlight the extraordinary students of the class of 2020 across Michigan’s 79th House District and celebrate their accomplishments. “The class of 2020 was dealt an unfair hand. This year was supposed to be filled with fun, surrounded by…

Rep. Hall: Unemployment and labor agencies often short on answers, offering glimpse into big issues for Michigan

Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic holds Thursday hearing State Rep. Matt Hall, of Marshall, today highlighted the need for transparency from departments overseeing efforts to provide unemployment payments for desperate, out-of-work people during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Hall chairs the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, which is looking into the decision-making…

Rep. Glenn to lead volunteer teams in flood relief efforts

Rep. Annette Glenn of Midland is forming the “Hero Helpers,” a group of volunteers who will spend the coming days and weeks working to provide relief to flood-affected residents of the Midland area. Teams will focus their efforts on clean up, community outreach in the affected areas, and transportation to those in need. “Our family,…